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International Students and Scholars

Nejra Gradan

Class of 2019

When you are from a small town in a small country that is still rebuilding what was broken about 20 years ago, diversity is a very scary word. Just like any other country that is still tormented with ghosts of its past, Bosnia is sadly a very dysfunctional country. Four years ago, as a teenager who had just started high school, this made me very angry. I felt lost, powerless and neglected by a system that doesn’t care much about its youth as it has much bigger problems. But in 2012 I was lucky enough to come across a movement that would change my life forever. After a long application process I was accepted into United World College in Mostar, an education movement with a peace statement. Trying to describe or explain what UWC actually is and what does it mean to be a UWC student would take much more than a page because it is, and it means, something different for everyone. For me personally it was a chance. A chance to experience what I could have never experienced at home. A chance to be involved, aware and educated. A chance for my voice to be heard. A chance to be able to choose who I want to be in this world and a chance to do it all with the most amazing and diverse group of people who acknowledge that education is power and diversity is a strength.

I realized that this is the path I want to continue on so I looked up dozens and dozens of US colleges but nothing “clicked,’’ not until I came across Lewis & Clark College. At first I was mesmerized and taken aback by the beautiful campus and the proximity of the city but then I read these words “Our students represent the next generation of global thinkers and leaders, unafraid to discard conventional thinking, civic complacency, and outmoded preconceptions” and I knew that this is the kind of place I could imagine myself at for the next four years.

I think that Lewis & Clark College is a great place to continue building what I have started at United World College. For me education is very important and I am very interested in International Relations, Russian language, and Economics. But I hope to learn outside of classroom, too, and I hope to share my experiences and lessons I’ve learned at UWC. Also, I am excited to share my culture with other students, to get to know their cultures, and continue enriching myself and others with new friendships that will last for life.

United World College

United World College of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina)